Getting back on track after a suicide attempt will be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. But it’s not impossible, not by a long shot. It takes time, it takes patience and it takes being kind to yourself.
First things first, if you’ve attempted suicide and you haven’t gone to see a doctor or had any medical attention, then make that your first port of call. Go see your local GP and seek their advice. If you’ve already seen a doctor and you’re preparing for getting back on track then welcome, you’re in the right place.
The days following a suicide attempt can be very tender days indeed. What you’ve experienced has most likely left you emotionally raw, exhausted and unsure about what happens next.
Now, there are no right or wrong answers and you should always do what you’re comfortable doing, but here are a couple of things that might make that transition back home a little easier:
- If you’re not 100% ready to head home, why not stay at a friend or relative’s house? Or alternatively, you could have them stay with you. Remember, they’re not there to keep an eye on you as such. They’re just there to keep you company or if you need someone to talk to.
- Routines can be a great way to help you get back into the swing of things. If possible, set up your day so that you do the same things at roughly the same time. What we’re talking about here are things like exercise, meal times and bed times.
- Go through the house and remove any harmful things.
- Be kind to yourself. Plan to do fun things. If you enjoyed playing basketball, going to the movies or the beach, then do those fun things. Remember don’t punish yourself for what you’ve been through.
Going back to work or school
Going back into work and school is an important step in getting back on track. It’s great to establish a routine, to keep your mind active and to think about the future.
But at this point in your life, it isn’t without it’s difficulties.
- There’s a really good chance that you don’t want to talk to your colleagues about what happened and why you’ve been away. That’s a decision that you should make for yourself and the answer will be different for each and every person.
- You should probably think about having a chat to your HR team or course coordinator, though. They will be able to support you with transitioning back into work or school by utilising flexible deadlines, a reduced workload or the time off to attend appointments.
Sometimes those suicidal thoughts come back
You won’t plan it. You won’t want it. But sometimes those suicidal thoughts can come back. Now, we’re not saying they will. You might never have another suicidal thought again but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. So what you can do is put together a suicide safety plan.
What is a suicide safety plan you ask?
A suicide safety plan will remind you of your reasons to live and it will connect you with people and services who can help you through those difficult times.
When you’re feeling calm, clear headed and well, sit with a trusted friend, family member of professional to help develop your safety plan. You can also download our ReMinder Suicide Safety Plan app, and create a suicide safety plan on your phone which you can access at any time.
What should that plan include?
- Have a think about and list the kinds of situations, thoughts, feelings or other warning signs that might lead to you feeling suicidal.
- Put together a list of things that help you feel calm and comforted.
- Compile a list of all the reasons you have for living. Focus on the positive aspects of your life.
- A list of all your reasons for living. Sometimes when you’re feeling suicidal it’s easy to forget about all the positive things and just focus on the negative. So put together a list of those positive things and focus on them when you’re feeling low.
- Make a list of people you can talk to when you’re feeling suicidal. Include their names and contact details.
- Is your environment safe? Have a think about the items you might use to hurt yourself with, and detail how you can remove or secure them. This part of the plan can also include avoiding things you know make you feel worse.
- Make a list of emergency contact details you can use if you’re still feeling unsafe. List the name and address of your nearest emergency department or crisis helpline.
- Then make a commitment to your safety plan. This means promising yourself that you will implement your plan if you need to. The commitment could also involve promising (out loud) to a family member, friend or professional that you will follow your plan.
Keep your plan in a safe place so that you can have it on hand if you ever need it.
If you are struggling and want to speak to a professional counsellor, Suicide Call Back Service is available 24/7.
Call us on 1300 659 467.
If it is an emergency, dial 000.